The Raptors essentially have four locks in their starting lineup:
- Point guard: Kyle Lowry
- Shooting guard: DeMar DeRozan
- Small forward: DeMarre Carroll
- Center: Jonas Valanciunas
What about power forward, where Amir Johnson started before signing with the Celtics?
Patrick Patterson, via Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star:
“I see it as it’s mine to lose . . . But it’s all about what coach (Dwane) Casey wants, what (general manager) Masai (Ujiri) sees, and who works hard and who earns it.”
Patterson will have competition, primarily from Luis Scola. Terrence Ross and James Johnson could also push their way into the starting lineup if Toronto goes small.
But I agree with Patterson: He’s the favorite for the position.
Patterson has developed into a solid stretch four, and he’ll space the floor for Jonas Valanciunas’ post-ups. The key will be Patterson defending well enough, especially with the Raptors recommitting to that end. But he has shown an ability to handle Casey’s defensive system, and it’s not as if Scola can use defense to steal the starting job.